Hout Bay model Ryan Pike is taking on the Tankwa Crossing ultramarathon on Thursday February 16 in aid of the Mdzananda Animal Clinic.
Known as Choppy to his friends – from being a chubby baby when he was younger – the 29-year-old hopes to benefit the Khayelitsha-based animal clinic by pushing himself to the limits, running 207km from Calvinia to Ceres.
With temperatures reaching a scorching 50℃, this rocky, sandy, single-stage race has a cut-off time of 50 hours and follows the longest uninterrupted dirt road in the country, the R355.
Ryan is no newbie to marathons. In 2021, he did his first 160km ultramarathon followed 18 months later with another at 100km.
Asked why he is taking on the extreme challenge, Ryan says he grew up with numerous cats and dogs around the house. “They’ve always been a huge part of my life. I feel like animals are capable of turning a house into a home. They’re furry best friends who are always excited to see you. That’s why I can’t stand the thought of animals suffering and not receiving the care they need. That’s why I am doing this, for them. For the animals that can’t speak for themselves, I want to be their voice.”
Marcelle du Plessis, of Mdzananda Animal Clinic, says funds raised will contribute towards a new inverter to protect the organisation’s digital X-ray machine from potential damage due to load shedding and power cuts. She adds that the non-profit is currently running over the carrying capacity of its facilities.
Ryan says he is grateful to those who have so far shown support by helping him reach almost R50 000 towards his goal of R100 000.